Regional MLK Jr. event recognizes students, celebrates diversity

Fifteen high school seniors from around the Great Lakes Bay Region were each awarded $1,000 scholarships to their chosen schools during an even held on January 23rd at Saginaw Valley State University. The 12th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Celebration also served to remember the legacy of Dr. King and the importance of the civil rights movement he helped champion.

During the event, a former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama passed along advice to the students. Delivering the keynote address, Valerie Jarrett echoed some messages of Dr. King.

“That resilience and tenacity and commitment that I saw in Martin Luther King is what I’d love to help instill in the young people of today,” said Jarrett during the event. “Bettering our understanding of one another and recognizing our country is stronger when we look for what we have in common and stop looking at our differences.”

Jarrett also referenced the current political climate, telling the audience that governing is often messy and requires hard work, especially from young people to help strengthen democracy.

Attendees line up for programs at the Recently students from the Great Lakes Bay Region were recognized for their community involvement at the 12th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Celebration.  

The MLK, Jr. Regional Celebration is a collaboration between Saginaw Valley State University and the Saginaw Community Foundation, Bay Area Community Foundation and Midland Area Community Foundation.

As part of the event, each community foundation nominates a “Drum Major” from their community. The Drum Major Award, named after an excerpt from one of Dr. King’s speeches, is given to someone who selflessly performs acts of service to make their community a better place. 2019 recipients included Benton Gibson from Bay County, Jeanne Lound Schaller from Midland County, and Leola Wilson from Saginaw County.

“Congratulations to all of the Drum Majors named in each of the three communities for receiving this honor,” says Sharon Mortensen, President and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation. “We look forward to seeing you carry out the next generation of community stewardship in the region.”